You don’t want to be one of those guys who skips leg day. But, at the same time, leg day is often extremely painful. What to do? Consider a slant board.
Slant boards are wedges used during a variety of lower-body workouts. They’re meant to provide users with greater range of motion and help people with less ankle, knee, and hip flexibility. Here’s how they work, and which to buy.
What Is a Slant Board?
It’s a wedge made out of rubber, wood, or metal that elevates your heels during squatting motions. If you’re wondering how heel elevation would improve a squat, try this: try squatting flat-footed as you normally would, then stand on your toes and squat. The latter will be significantly easier for almost everyone. Raising your heels lessens the importance of ankle, knee, hip, and back flexibility on squatting movements. This means folks with limited flexibility—or very long femurs, which can make squatting with proper form more difficult—can achieve fuller ranges of motion, and hit depth more consistently.
The idea of elevating the heels to improve leg workouts isn’t novel. Weightlifting shoes almost always have some kind of heel-raising wedge built into them. You might have seen people at your gym squatting with weight plates under their heels, too. Slant boards, lifting shoes, and plate-assisted squatting all aim to do the same thing—allow you to get deeper into a squat without risking form failure. It also shifts more of the focus of the squat to the quads and away from the glutes.
You might spend more time using a slant board as a flexibility exercise or stretch tool than you will for weightlifting support. Pop the slant board under your desk at work and plant your feet on it for a light-but-constant calf and ankle stretch. Do this consistently and over time you may see marked improvement in ankle mobility.